The Players Championship begins Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, with a wet and windy forecast ahead. The GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with their predictions.
Pick to win and winning score:
Rex Hoggard: Rory McIlroy. Based on his last 36 holes, a horrid run of 8 over to finish a miserable week at Bay Hill, the Northern Irishman isn’t exactly a no-brainer pick. But he does have Mother Nature and history on his side. He won The Players in 2019 with a dominant performance and has always been most comfortable on a soft golf course, which is in the forecast at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy wins his second Players title with a 13-under total.
Ryan Lavner: Collin Morikawa, 12 under par. Throughout his short but spectacular career he’s proven to be a fast learner, and TPC Sawgrass should accentuate his gifts as one of the game’s premier ball-strikers (take note of his best-of-the-day closing 66 last year). And when the conditions deteriorate over the weekend, he has the perfect temperament and self-belief to handle them.
Brentley Romine: Will Zalatoris. Ball-striking. Ball-striking. Ball-striking. I don’t care that he’s likely going to miss a few putts inside of 5 feet. He’s also going to hit more greens than just about everyone. In red numbers every day here a year ago, Zalatoris shrugs off a closing 79 at the API and gets his first PGA Tour title on the biggest non-major stage. As for the winning score, who knows; things could get crazy with the weather forecast, so I’ll play it safe and go a couple of shots under the over/under: 9 under does the job.
Pick to benefit from the wind and rain:
Hoggard: Jon Rahm. The world No. 1’s ball-striking has been sublime this year, but he continues to struggle with his putting. That ball-striking will come in handy when the winds are expected to gust to 30 mph on the weekend and upwards of 4 inches of rain will slow the normally slick greens to more manageable speeds.